Monday, February 13, 2012

counting the gifts...

I am so tired from this weekend I feel as if I can barely put a sentence together.  
I have already re-started this post four times!

The conference was definitely a success and there are plans in the works to do it again next year. We are so grateful for the emotional and spiritual healing we saw take place, for the ah-ha moments some of the women experienced and for each woman who had the courage to come and speak the truth about her life.

Friday night Diana Shaw opened with the story of Gomer.  A different sort of love story.  Not one of a prince and princess but one of a harlot who became the wife of a prophet.  A story of redemption and of unconditional love.  One of the statements that seemed to resonate among the women was "if you don't address the issues of your past they will eventually lead you into sin".  There is a danger in living with unresolved issues.  It will affect not only you but those around you, especially your children and your walk with God.  Gomer could not handle her life as Hosea's wife.  She went back to her ways of adultery seeking gifts and care from lovers instead of from her husband.  But God instructed Hosea to take his wife back and to show her love once again.   What a blessing to know that there is always an opportunity for renewal with the Lord.  Hosea redeemed Gomer, gave her dignity, restored her position and gave her status.  And God can do each of those things for us as He lavishes His grace on us.

Saturday morning we had a talk from a woman who lived for 43 years with the secret of domestic violence in her home.  Her testimony of suffering at the hands of her husband truly hit a cord with some of the women.  And many were inspired by her honesty, courage and what God has done through her life.  

Tom's first talk was about how abuse and trauma in our lives affects our choices.  After Tom spoke we had lunch and then we separated into small groups for a time of discussion and of processing what we had been hearing.  There were 9 of us who were designated as small group leaders.  The small group time was truly eye opening.  Women were ready to talk about what they identified with, what they were learning and what they needed to change in their own lives to truly live the full life that God wants them to live.  

In the evening, following Tom's talk on forgiveness, those who were ready to begin the process of forgiving someone in their life were able to write that name down on a piece of paper and nail it to the cross.  

This was followed by communion.  And then we were dismissed for the night.  We heard stories the next day about women who went back to their dorm rooms and shared their testimonies with one another, and some of them stayed up until about 2am praying and singing together!

There were so many gifts from this weekend...
our hearts are truly filled to overflowing with joy over how God worked through this conference.

498.  Times of praise and worship with the ladies...

499.  gathering for meals together.
500.  whoopie pies for dessert
501.  homemade rolls
502.  fresh ice cream from Spanish Lookout
503.  times of prayer with a few of the women that were even sweeter than the ice cream we shared.

504.  different nationalities and ethnic groups coming together

505.  women from the Mennonite community joining us on Saturday. 

506. Tom being able to teach and use his gifts.

507. learning to accept interruptions no matter what form they take. 

508.  the sound of forgiveness being nailed to the cross

509.  hurts being transformed by Christ's work on the cross

510. being blessed by the serving team with great meals and hospitality

511. bonding in small groups

512. hearing testimonies 

513.  Powerful dramas showcasing how Christ intervenes in our lives.

514.  a beautiful love letter from God for each one of the ladies in attendance.
515.  unexpected gifts as thanks for being a small group leader.
516.  seeing women exchange numbers before leaving.
517.  churches who financially sponsored women from their congregations.
518.  a local woman who took in several children so their mothers could attend.
519.  the youth group clapping in support of each woman as her name was called to receive a gift for attending.  Their encouragement was spontaneous and so beautiful!
520.  knowing that we are in the right place and at just the right time.

joining in with the gratitude community:


  1. Anonymous5:19 PM

    such wonderful gifts! I hope you have a lovely week.

  2. Wow Alida... It sounds like an amazingly powerful conference for the ladies that attended! Praise God for your and Tom's ministry, and the work that you do for the Kingdom. :-)

    And I love your list of blessings, and the wonderful photos that accompany them... Thank you for sharing them!

    Have a Blessed Day!!

  3. Here is my list from today--

    491. Finding balance in my life
    492. Having fun training with nunchucks
    493. Relatives visiting
    494. New enthusiasm for my book
    495. A fun visit to Seattle
    496. Riding the train
    497. Mild winter weather
    498. My grandson’s laughter
    499. A new way of looking at an old issue
    500. Reaching 500 on this list!

  4. Here's wishing you a blessed week and more beautiful little gifts.

  5. My heart was deeply touched as I read about the conference. The change in women's lives makes being tired all worth it. Your gratitude list is wonderful. I've been keeping one but haven't been sharing it - perhaps it's time to begin to share now.